LII. (177) On which account Moses has separated his impious and obscure progeny from the whole of the divine company; for he says, “The Ammonites and the Moabites shall not come into the assembly of the Lord:”{74}{#de 23:3.} and these are the descendants of the daughters of Lot, supposing that everything is generated of the outward sense and of mind, being male and female like a father and mother, and looking upon this as in real truth the cause of all generation: (178) but as, even if we were to commit such an error as this, still emerging as it were out of that troubled sea, we may lay hold on repentance, which is a firm and saving thing, and must never let it go till we have completely escaped from the billowy sea, the headlong violence of sin: (179) as Rachel, when formerly praying for mind, as if that were able to raise up children, and when she received the answer, “Am I equal to God?”{75}{#ge 30:2.} attended to what was said to her, and when she understood it, made a most pious recantation; for the recantation of Rachel is recorded in scripture, a most God-loving prayer, “May God grant to me another Son,”{76}{#ge 30:24.} such a prayer as no foolish person is permitted to make, who pursues no object but his own pleasure, and who thinks everything else mere folly and ridiculousness.

LIII. (180) And the leader of this opinion is Onan the brother of the skin-wearing Er. “For he,” says the scripture, “knowing that the seed would not be his, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, spilled his seed upon the Ground:”{77}{#ge 38:9.} he transgressed all the boundaries of self-love and of fondness for pleasure. (181) Should I not say to this man, If you have a regard to your own advantage you will destroy everything that is excellent, and that too without deriving any advantage therefrom? You will put an end to the honour due to parents, the attention of a wife, the education of children, the blameless services of servants, the management of a house, the government of a city, the firm establishment of laws, the guardianship of morals, reverence to one’s elders, the habit of speaking well of the dead, good fellowship with the living, piety towards God as shown both in words and in deeds: for you are overturning and throwing into confusion all these things, sowing seed for yourself alone, and nursing up pleasure, that gluttonous intemperate origin of all evil.